Grieving the Loss of a Child

It's difficult to move beyond thinking about the precious days she had with her daughter.

by • Member { View Profile }

There is a web site that will tell me exactly how long my daughter, Sophia, lived. You enter two dates and it tells you the duration between them.

9 months, 18 days.

41 weeks.

292 days.

7008 hours.

420,480 minutes.

I know the exact time of her birth and the exact time of her death so I can even calculate it down to seconds, but then I start to feel a little bit crazy.

I hate math, and I’m no good at it either. I still add on my fingers, in fact. I don’t know that I could even do long division anymore. I certainly couldn’t do anything with a fraction. But I frequently pull up this web site and perform the calculations, then sit and stare at the results. How small the numbers always seem. And they are always the same.

Sometimes I calculate out my own numbers. Duration between January 29, 1975 and today. But most recently, I’ve used the site to figure out the exact date when my son, Alec, will be the age Sophia was when she died. He was born on March 29, 2011 so that means on Monday, January 15, 2012 he was the same age as Sophia was when she stopped breathing in her sleep.

And, like a cruel cosmic joke, on the eve of this very big day, my husband drove Alec to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital. Alec was lethargic, feverish, and had a terrible cough. Croup would be the diagnosis. They did extensive tests to make sure it wasn’t severe enough to warrant a hospitalization. They gave him a steroid and sent him home. But we’d need to watch him carefully and monitor his breathing.

Monitor his breathing.

I know using this date calculation web site is a slippery slope. After I visit it, I always clear my browser history so nobody will know about my secret ritual.

But when Chris returned from the hospital with Alec in the early hours on January 15th, I looked at him and asked, “Do you know what today is?”

“Of course,” he responded quietly. “It’s day 292.”

What’s your reaction?